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On October 16th I had the privilege of competing in the 2010 USAPL Push-Pull National Championships in Denver, CO. The meet was held at the Rocky Mountain Lifting Club, a private gym owned and operated by long-time USAPL competitor Dan and Jennifer Gaudreau. Training had gone well leading up to this contest, so I thought I had put myself in a good position for a solid performance.
I figured it would be a good day when I got through my warm-ups. I finished the warm-ups with 660x1. Everything felt light and fast from floor to lockout. I was poised to go to battle. I called for 711 for my opening attempt, only to be somewhat surprised when I discovered that five other lifters were opening at 700+. This was going to be one heck of a battle!
The first attempt felt very solid, so I decided to go to 744 for my second attempt. This is when things started to get a little crazy. As my turn in the rotation came up to lift my name was not called, so my handler approached the scorer’s table to find out what was wrong. The head scorer claimed that I had turned in 744 kilograms for my second attempt and insisted that this is what I would have to attempt. After some debate the head scorer decided to allow me to attempt 744 pounds. A mad scramble then ensued to load the right weight on the bar.
I approached the bar with great confidence going into this attempt. Unfortunately, the bar stalled below my knees. I set the bar down and walked off of the platform more confused than anything by what had just occurred. The immediate thought that entered my mind is that the bar was misloaded. I asked the head scorer if it was and he insisted that it was loaded correctly. However, the fact that the loaders took weight off of the bar for the next lifter who was attempting 2.5kg more than me was proof that the bar was misloaded. It did not matter. The head scorer insisted that the bar was loaded correctly for my attempt.
I was absolutely crushed; I took my belt off, my suit straps down and started packing my bag. No Arnold next year was the only thought that ran through my head. Then my handler and good friend Shawn Baier approached me and insisted that I take my third attempt. I was hesitant because a very badly missed attempt on a misloaded weight crushes you physically and psychologically. No matter – Shawn insisted so I called for 755 because I knew that it was the minimum weight I needed to pull to achieve a Wilk’s score of 200. I proceeded to get my mind focused on the task at hand and then watched as lifter after lifter missed their third attempt and hope of qualifying for the Arnold resurfaced. It was then that the head scorer announced that the automatic bid for the Arnold would come down to the final two lifters of the day, me and fellow Team HMB member John Conner. I approached the barbell with more focus than ever and then commenced the longest pull of my life. After locking the bar out and receiving the down signal from the head referee I turned around to see three white lights. I was elated to say the least! John missed his third attempt. John has a bright in future in both strongman and powerlifting.
It was at this point that I thought I was in a dream. I turned to look at Shawn and asked him if this was real. With a huge smile on his face he said that it was in fact real – I was qualified for the 2011 Arnold Classic! A huge thanks goes out to Shawn and MTI for all of their support.
This contest, this win, the Arnold Classic – none of them are about me. I would not have the honor of experiencing any of this if it were not for people in my life who are better than me. God has once again humbled me by this unbelievable experience. There is no reason for God to continue to bless me beyond belief in my life – I certainly do not deserve it but He does it anyway because that is who God is – God is love and His love transcends all of my shortcomings.